Thursday, 12 December 2013

Extra-eggy Moist Pound Cake With Walnut Top Crust

Hello again :-) What can I say, I live a terribly busy life.

No, really. I have SO many new murder mysteries to read.

Anyway. Moving on, winter is finally tweeting outside my window - that's the tropics for you, three weeks of cool breezes if we're lucky - and something about the nip in the air always, always makes me squish bakey things down my gullet.

I lie. Pretty much any season makes me want to squish b. things down my g., but winter actually makes me want to make them. Especially since I'm on something of a budget now, and boy, are pastries expensive.

So here then, is the lovely extra-eggy pound cake, with a top-crust of toasty walnuts, that I baked on a whim day before. It was 12AM, so there are no pictures. Just follow the simple steps below.

1. Separate whites from yolk of two eggs. Two eggs will make it taste extra-eggy, don't worry.

2. Whisk the whites till it becomes sort of peaky and firm. Then add about 100 gms of powdered sugar, and whisk some more. I use a mixing device to do this, because without the aid of electricity, my wrists are useless.

3. Beat the yolks well. Then gently add sunflower or a similarly bland oil - enough to cover the yolks, and then an inch. Whisk it very well with the eggs till the two blend completely. This blend should be of a slightly thick pouring consistency. When you tilt the mixing bowl of jar, it should roll easily to the edge. Not runny, but not a thick, slow vessel-clinging mixture either.

4. To this, add 125 gms of flour, in about three batches. Add a batch, fold it in very well, then add the second, and so on. When all of the flour is whisked in, add quarter teaspoon salt and an even quarter teaspoon baking powder plus a large pinch for rising luck :-)

5. To this very thick and yellow mixture, add three tablespoons of milk. Whisk. Add a third of the meringue. Whisk well. Add another four tablespoons of milk. Whisk. And so on till you've added all the meringue (egg white+sugar mixture) and three batches of milk. Your batter should now be thick and clinging to your spoon, but far smoother and silkier than it was with just the flour, oil and egg. Whisk this for a good five minutes by hand.

6. Keep a stack of dry-roasted and skinned walnuts in a jar. They're very handy for salads and desserts. Take about fifteen of them, chop them into pinch-sized bits, and add them to the batter. Whisk for a final minute, and whisk well.

7. Pour batter into butter-greased cake tin. Bake at 150 C for 30 minutes (or however long it takes for a fork to come out clean), then at 200 C for seven. The 200C baking will give you a lovely caramel-coloured nutty top-crust, while baking at 150 will leave your cake eggy, slightly dense, rich-tasting yet light on the tummy, and an interesting shade of pale yellow.

Serve with tea at four o' clock, and send me a hand-written thank-you note!